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Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 1367–1384 | Cite as

Volatile components of scent material from cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus o. oedipus)

A chemical and behavioral study
  • A. Belcher
  • G. Epple
  • I. Küderling
  • A. B. SmithIII
Article

Abstract

The first chemical analysis of the volatile components of scent material from the cotton-top tamarin,Saguinus o. oedipus is presented. In contrast to our previous findings in saddle-back tamarins (Saguinus fuscicollis), the chemical composition of the scent marks is quite variable. Analysis of secretion expressed manually from different areas of the scent pads of sedated animals shows individual and regional variability. Only three components (squalene, cholesterol, andp-methoxybenzaldehyde) were found in all scent mark samples analyzed. However, suprapubic secretions obtained from one sedated female contained, in addition, 12 butyrate esters as well as five acetate esters which were homologous to the butyrates. The butyrate esters have been previously identified in scent material fromSaguinus fuscicollis. The variability of the composition of the scent material is discussed in relation to the scent-marking behavior of the cotton-top tamarins. Behavioral studies tested the ability of the cotton-top tamarins to discriminate between scent marks from conspecifics and scent marks from saddle-back tamarins. The group of 12 subjects discriminated between the scent marks from both species in choice tests during which they could freely contact the scent samples. However, when scent marks were presented under a screen, so that the subjects could smell but not contact the stimuli, no discrimination was shown. Four individuals displayed more interest in the screened scent stimuli than all other subjects. When these animals were tested in a second experiment for their ability to discriminate between material from the two species on the basis of only volatile cues, it became evident that they were able to do so. These results indicate that volatile cues alone enable the tamarins to recognize scent marks from conspecifics, but that additional cues perceived during contact with the scent are important for its full attractiveness and/or informational content.

Key words

Primate callitrichids Saguinus o. oedipus chemical communication scent marking chemical analysis GC-MS volatile composition 

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References

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Belcher
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. Epple
    • 1
    • 2
  • I. Küderling
    • 1
  • A. B. SmithIII
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.German Primate CenterGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Monell Chemical Senses CenterPhiladelphia
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia

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